Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “He’s Going to a Wedding Without Me!”

wedding invitation

My husband and I are mending our marriage. His niece is getting married to a man she hardly knows and I’m not invited since the mother of the bride does not like me for no reason except she doesn’t want her brother with me. He and I have been married for fourteen years and I think it is wrong that my spouse goes to the ceremony. He says he isn’t going to the reception, but I don’t believe him. — Not Invited

Well, I don’t believe you that there’s no reason that your husband’s sister doesn’t like you. If you’re mending your marriage, there was some reason is was fractured in the first place, and I’m betting whatever that reason is is probably related to why your sister-in-law doesn’t like you. But, regardless, I do agree it’s in bad form to invite someone to a wedding and not extend an invitation to his spouse of fourteen years. You have no control over whether or not you were invited, though, and neither does your husband. He can skip the wedding out of loyalty to you and as a statement to his family that he will not tolerate any disrespect toward you, but where does that get you? Does that help mend your marriage further? If it does, it comes at the cost of his relationship with his family. Is that worth it to you? Or, could extending him some compassion for the difficult position he’s in also go a long way in mending your marriage? What if you said to him: “I’m sad and offended that I wasn’t invited to your niece’s wedding, but I understand why it’s still important for you to go and I’m not going to hold it against you if you make an appearance. Out of respect to me though, it would mean a lot if you made an appearance only and came home after the wedding ceremony itself and after you extended your wishes to the bride and groom.” Then, help him pick out a gift for them and sign your name to the card. That way, you look gracious in the face of pettiness.

I have been seeing my boyfriend about five years, and his family, whom I haven’t met, only knows little bits about me. For instance, they don’t know I have children (and I have not met his son either). I gave him a specific date and let him know if I don’t meet his son by then, I’m leaving. I don’t plan to waste my time, but I do love him. He says he is just afraid of what his 7-year-old old son may think and he doesn’t know how to explain it to him. We have plans to move in together next year, but I told him it’s even worse to not give his son or family an opportunity to know me before just moving me in. He says with his ex-wife he didn’t introduce her until they were engaged. I don’t know what to do; I feel so lost. I don’t want to be taken for a ride and find a dead-end when he doesn’t introduce me in the time frame I gave him. — A Preschool Teacher

 
It’s been five years, which is plenty of time already for your boyfriend to introduce you to his family. I don’t know what the time frame is that you gave him, but it’s safe to say that the time isn’t so much for him to get his act together as it is for you to get your act together. You can’t control what choice he makes, but you can control what choice you make. And when you have control of your choices, no path is truly a dead-end because you can choose to make a turn and not continue on the path that leads to nowhere. This guy isn’t interested in taking things with you to the next level. So, make your turn. Get off the path that leads to nowhere. If you need a deadline to motivate you to do so, so be it. But I think you already know what that deadline is going to bring. So start making your game plan now. Get your support in place for when you get off the dead-end path and start turning toward a path that has more promise. Loving someone isn’t reason enough to continue feeling lost.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

21 comments… add one
  • avatar

    artsygirl November 28, 2016, 9:26 am

    LW1 – The phrase ‘mending your marriage’ is very vague. Are you and your husband separated? If so, then it would make sense that you would not be invited to the wedding. It is possible the bride and her mother are trying to avoid a potential scene between you and your husband at the wedding. It sounds like there are some serious trust issues since you claim that you do not believe your husband is going to skip the reception – why do you not believe him? Stating that your sister in law hates you and your niece is marrying a man she doesn’t know is superfluous. Follow Wendy’s advice and be kind and gracious.

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  • avatar

    Essie November 28, 2016, 9:49 am

    LW1, your letter is so full of anger, contempt and disrespect, for everyone you mention. Your sister hates you for no reason, your niece is marrying some guy she doesn’t know, your husband is lying. Maybe it’s time to put aside some of that anger. It certainly won’t help your reconciliation.

    Looking at it from your niece’s perspective, I wouldn’t want someone who felt that way about me at my wedding.

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    • juliecatharine

      Juliecatharine November 28, 2016, 9:50 am

      Bingo.

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    • avatar

      saneinca November 28, 2016, 12:54 pm

      Umm. You read it wrong. It is the husband’s sister and niece. Not the LW’s.

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      • Lady_Red

        Lady_Red November 28, 2016, 11:55 pm

        Her husband’s niece IS her niece. That’s how it works. That part of the letter really bugged me. If she’s thinking of her niece as her “husband’s niece” it’s no wonder she wasn’t invited.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine November 28, 2016, 9:49 am

    WWS on both.

    LW2, are you sure he’s not married? Five years is an absurdly long time to date someone and never introduce them to your family. This guy is either stringing you along or he has some truly bizarre ideas about social norms. In what world does a parent keep a child in the dark about their significant other and then move them in?? I think he’s playing you and you should MOA. Deal with the deadline if you want but he’s already shown you how he operates and it leaves you feeling lost and confused–why do you want to stick around for more of that?

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph November 28, 2016, 11:44 am

      Secret wife, for sure. When your deadline comes and nothing has changed, be prepared to DTMFA.

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover November 28, 2016, 9:54 am

    LW2 – how can you possibly be making plans to move in when you haven’t even met his son? How is that going to work? I have a feeling the plans to move in will continue getting pushed out, just like he’s been pushing out you meeting his kid. Five years is a long time to refuse to introduce you to his kid. If he saw this getting serious, he’d have made sure the two of you get along already. But he hasn’t, because he doesn’t think this is serious. Move on.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star November 28, 2016, 10:10 am

    LW1: Maybe your contempt for your niece is the reason you weren’t invited to her wedding. I don’t blame her for not wanting you there.

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  • findingtheearth

    Findingtheearth November 28, 2016, 10:52 am

    LW2: if this is someone you have made life plans with, meeting his son should have happened. I can see waiting a year or two, but not 5. And you should have started meeting his family too. Something is off about it

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph November 28, 2016, 11:44 am

    LW1- My very first thought, as Wendy covers, was “nobody hates someone for no reason.” There’s a reason. I’d bet you know very well what the reason is, but on the off chance you don’t, maybe do some soul searching and see if you can come up with it. Maybe it has something to do with how you seem to hate both her and her daughter, and want to make your niece’s wedding all about you and your mending relationship with your husband? Or maybe it’s related to whatever caused the rift in your marriage to begin with?
    He’s been married to you for 14 years but presumably known his niece for her entire 20-some+ years of life. He absolutely should go to her wedding ceremony, and bring a gift. I do agree it would be a nice gesture toward you to skip the reception, but despite your snide comment that you don’t believe him (how’s that relationship mending coming?) you gave US no reason why he wouldn’t keep his word on that.

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    • avatar

      saneinca November 28, 2016, 12:58 pm

      I agree the husband should go but no need to dump on the wife. She was not invited to a close relative’s wedding, despite being married for 14 years. If the LW and her husband invite only the sister but not her husband to holidays, wouldn’t you say it is bad manners?

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph November 28, 2016, 1:12 pm

        Sure it’s bad manners. It’s bad manners to invite only one half of a married couple to a wedding, too. But the niece didn’t write in for advice, the LW did. The LW wrote about 3 people and insulted every single one of them (her SIL just hates her for no reason, her husband is lying about skipping the reception, and her niece is marrying a dude she doesn’t know). So yes, some soul searching is in order if she has no clue why all these people in her husband’s life don’t want her around.

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      • avatar

        Northern Star November 28, 2016, 1:34 pm

        Loving Auntie insults the bride’s judgment, her groom, and the bride’s mother in one short paragraph. It’s hardly any wonder why this woman wasn’t invited to share the day with the family, since she has zero love for any of them. Who wants a bitter jerk at their wedding because “etiquette” dictates it?

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  • avatar

    dinoceros November 28, 2016, 12:01 pm

    LW1: If you think your husband is lying about going to the reception, then it sounds like the mending of your marriage isn’t going well. Both if your husband *is* lying and if you don’t trust him on something that simple. If you’ve been together for that long, has this come up before? How was it dealt with in the past? This can’t be a new situation, unless, like Wendy said, it’s a result of the problems in your marriage.

    LW2: I think it’s odd that you say you don’t want to be taken for a ride, but you’ve put up with this for five years. You’ve already been for a ride, many rides.

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  • avatar

    zombeyonce November 28, 2016, 5:22 pm

    LW2 said, “He says he is just afraid of what his 7-year-old old son may think and he doesn’t know how to explain it to him.”

    That is a nonsensical excuse. How is it confusing to figure out how to say “This is a woman that your dad loves and we want her to be a part of your life”? I will say that explaining to a 7-year old why they’ve never met is a lot harder than introducing someone to a toddler, which he should have done years ago. I don’t think this guy actually wants LW to be a part of his kid’s life.
    .
    It’s like people that say they don’t want their kids to hear about gay people because they don’t know how to explain them. “You know how I love your dad? A woman can love a woman that way, and a man can love a man that way.” Simple and obvious.
    .
    Like someone else said, this guy sounds like he doesn’t have an ex-wife; he has a wife. Pretty sure that since you’ve never met his family that they don’t actually know about you at all, no matter what he says.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros November 28, 2016, 5:49 pm

      Exactly. If he can’t tell a 7-year-old he has a girlfriend, then he’s not going to be able to tell an 8-year-old or a 9-year-old, etc., and he’s certainly not ever going to be able to explain why a woman is moving in or that he’s getting remarried.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph November 28, 2016, 6:01 pm

        Maybe he will wait until the kid is 16 or 18 and can be royally pissed at Dad for carrying on a secret relationship for most of his life.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros November 28, 2016, 7:31 pm

        Yes, that too.

        My dad had a total of 1 conversation (about the situation at hand) between the time he started dating my stepmom and when they got married. She had been hanging out with us for a while, and he finally told me that they were dating and were “thinking about” getting married. Then the next day, she showed up to a family event with a ring. I didn’t care that they were engaged, but felt stupid as the only person there who didn’t already know they were officially engaged. I’m not mad at him now, but I think it’s another item in the list of why he’s kind of crappy at interpersonal relationships.

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    Miss MJ November 29, 2016, 12:49 am

    Oh, please.

    LW1, you aren’t invited because whatever you’re “mending” was enough to piss your husband’s whole family off at you, 14 years notwithstanding, *his* neice included. Dunno if it was your fault, but they sure think it was. Good luck on the patching up. You need it.

    LW2, he’s married. Or got a live in. Whatever, you’re the side piece, have been for 5 years and he isn’t leaving her for you. Set your timeline, then move on.

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  • avatar

    Gracie November 29, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I have a big immediate family and we also never introduce an SO until engagement–maybe one or two meetings before the official announcement, but everyone knows that if the family’s getting introduced, it means marriage is on the horizon. We’re private people, and also the large size of the family can be pretty overwhelming to outsiders. Probably on the surface we look like the Duggars because no one ever has a boyfriend/girlfriend, only a fiance (though we definitely aren’t like them). But for heaven’s sake, it’s never gone on like that for five years! How long was he with his ex-wife before that engagement where he introduced her? Not that it’s totally relevant, except he’s making that his excuse. Kids in the picture changes everything.

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